Sunday, January 30th, 2011
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Michelle of Wicked Whimsy.
At any give time, there are a great amount of people who are working their current job as a “day” job or a “right now” job, while they work on their dream job or passion projects on the side. I know I’ve done my share of this, and sometimes, it’s not easy! If you feel forced into your work arrangement, it can make you resentful, angry, and unproductive at work – which doesn’t do anyone any favors, since you’re spending most of your waking hours there! If this happens to you, try using the following tips to improve your attitude & productivity at your day job.
Instead of doing the bare minimum to get by, set aside a few minutes each week to think of ways you can go above and beyond, putting emotional labor into your work and not just “showing up”. If you’re motivated by something intrinsic (like a feeling of accomplishment) instead of extrinsic (money), your satisfaction when you complete your goals is likely to skyrocket. A great book on this topic is Linchpin, by Seth Godin.
Make a list of things your day job provides for you
Karl has written before about the power of gratitude, and this is another great example of it. Instead of thinking “My day job makes me get up early five days a week and spend 40 hours slogging away”, think of the things you couldn’t have without your day job. Try to get creative with your list – instead of saying “my apartment”, say “my two bedroom home in the heart of the art district”, or instead of saying “cat food”, say “the ability to feed my beloved pets”. Make the list as long as you can, and keep it on hand for when you start getting frustrated with work.
Make it a game
This doesn’t mean, don’t take your day job seriously – just maybe not quite as seriously. If you’re finding it impossible to have fun at your day job, make an effort to make it fun. Give yourself points for handling a customer or coworker successfully & professionally, subtract points if you don’t. At the end of the day, add up your total. If your points are above a certain number, treat yourself to your favorite meal.
Work to improve your environment
If you have control over a small amount of space, improve it. Add pictures of things that make you happy or your list of things your job provides for you. Any time you start feeling frustrated, take a deep breath and look at these things to remind yourself of the positive things your work brings into your life. Make an effort to improve your work environment in other ways as well – try instituting a no gossip rule for yourself when talking to coworkers. Gretchen Rubin recounts a tale in the Happiness Project of a friend who worked under a notoriously difficult boss. Gretchen’s friend made a rule for herself that she wasn’t going to say anything negative about her boss or his habits, and that if others were saying negative things, she’d walk away. Not surprisingly, the friend turned out much happier with her job than her coworkers, and even found herself liking her boss.
Watch your labels
This can be one of the toughest tips to follow. If you’re constantly referring to yourself – out loud or in your head – as a “wage slave”, that’s going to be reflected in your attitude and the way you act at work. Remind yourself that the place you work for is renting your time, and that your time is valuable. If you feel like the title your place of employment gives you isn’t very empowering – say, secretary, or sales associate – think of a spin on it that does make you feel good (instead of secretary, try administrative assistant).
There’s five ways to start improving your attitude & productivity at your job right away. What are your favorite ways to flip a negative work attitude around?
Michelle is a rainbow haired freelance writer & blogger located in Austin, TX. She writes about life creation for thoughtful renegades at Wicked Whimsy. You can sign up for her free e-course, Finding Yourself 101, here.
* You may want to check out How to Discover Your Superpowers over at my marketing blog Super Power Coach. It’s a lot easier to have a great attitude and stay productive when you are doing work you enjoy, gets you in the zone, and plays to your strengths.
If you found this post insightful, you will probably like these too:
- Your Attitude and How it Affects Your Career
- How Transitions Can Dramatically Improve Your Productivity
Image courtesy of Dunechaser